A suicide car bomber attacked a French vehicle convoy in Mali and wounded six French troops. This is the third attack on French troops in the past few weeks. Two previous attacks had resulted in five troops killed and more wounded. 

The French Defense Ministry released a statement saying that a joint French and Malian military convoy was traveling in armored fighting vehicles near Gouma early on Friday when a vehicle approached at high speed. This area is where the borders of Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso meet.

The French vehicle moved to block the road when the driver of the approaching vehicle, a three-wheeled motorcycle used as a taxi, triggered an explosive device.  

The injured troops were immediately transported to a military hospital in Gao. The statement from the French military said that none of the injured soldiers suffered life-threatening injuries. However, three of the wounded soldiers were transported back to France for treatment. 

The al-Qaeda-linked Group to Support Islam and Muslims (GSIM) has claimed responsibility for an earlier IED attack, but no one has yet taken responsibility for this latest attack.

This latest attack is significant as it comes at a critical juncture for the French involvement in Operation Barkhane. France has 5,100 troops in Mali as part of the operation. Yet, it is facing criticism both at home and in Mali about its troops on the ground. 

French troops are spread around the semi-arid Sahel but have mainly been stationed in Mali. They have been fighting jihadist groups alongside soldiers from Mauritania, Chad, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger. Together with Mali, these four countries make up the G5 Sahel coalition.

France has also created the Special Operations Task Force Takuba, which is comprised of SOF troops from most of the European Union. Their purpose is to train, advise, and work alongside the G5 nations.